Recording of the J.S. Bach Cello Suites by Tormod Dalen

An interpretation that reconnects the Bach Suites with their dance roots.

Project visual Recording of the J.S. Bach Cello Suites by Tormod Dalen
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07/28/2020
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Recording of the J.S. Bach Cello Suites by Tormod Dalen

Presentation of the project

J. S. Bach’s cello suites enjoy an unparalleled status as the most iconic works in the cello repertoire, played and replayed, recorded over and over again. Yet their intrinsic relationship with dance and movement is still surprisingly neglected. Drawing on his research and practice of Baroque Dance, Tormod Dalen offers an interpretation that may upset listening habits, and draw the cello suites closer to their origins full of gesture, grace and life.

The 2020 edition of our festival Musiques en Haut! - Estivales des orgues  regrettably had to be cancelled. We therefore chose to be present to our public this year with the edition and promotion of a recording.

Tormod Dalen has been a guest of our festival on several occasions. Some years ago he performed of the complete J.S. Bach Cello Suites, and we were immediately seduced by his interpretation, profound and lively at the same time. We decided to invite him to record them for the second opus of our label Exordium.

(Photo : Jack Carrot)

The Cello Suites according to Tormod Dalen

For music lovers, Bach's Cello Suites represent the pinnacle of beauty and elegance, maybe with a certain mystical touch. For cellists these works are friends and companions of a lifetime. They present important technical challenges, and the exploration of their incredible musical riches is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Like so many cellists, Tormod Dalen always wondered about the dance titles of the suite movements. When he specialized in Historically Informed Performance, he began in earnest to explore the dance character of these works. Since then, the long research he conducted with dancers and choreographers has allowed him to bring the physical and rhythmic aspects of this music to the fore.

Indeed, beyond the image of the stern cantor and the ‘fifth apostle’ that has been handed down to us, Johann Sebastian Bach was a man steeped in the court culture of his time, where La belle danse from France with its minuets, gavottes and bourrées, were known and danced by all. He was, after all, described by his friend J.M. Gesner as a musician who had "...rhythm in every part of his body..." 

Tormod Dalen's quest has resulted in a doctoral thesis, a concert series and a dance performance. This recording grows out of this life-time quest, and introduces his dynamic and innovative interpretation of this monument of cello music to a larger public.

(Photo : Jack Carrot)

Biography of Tormod Dalen

Tormod Dalen performs in concert and records with prestigious Early Music ensembles such as Le Concert Spirituel, Les Ambassadeurs, Le Poème Harmonique, and Arte dei Suonatori... He is professor of baroque cello at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Versailles and gives lectures and master classes in institutions such as the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and The Norwegian Academy of Music. For several years he has been exploring the close link between baroque dance and Johann Sebastian Bach's Suites for solo cello, subject of his doctoral thesis. The results of his research have been published in the Journal for Artistic Research.

Allocation of funds

This album will be released in two volumes (Volume 1: suites 1-3, volume 2: suites 4-6), and the present project concerns the first disc. Our label has already supported (without public funding) the costs of sound recording, travel and accommodation; all in all more than 4,000 €.

Currently, we need your help to finance :

  • Administrative costs: Sacem, Sdrm, bar code, etc.
  • Post-production: editing, mixing, mastering, graphics and translation of the booklet (16 pages),
  • CD pressing

These expenses amount to around 4.000,00 €.

By helping us to reach, or even exceed this provisional budget, and by sharing this project with your community, we will be able to carry out an effective promotion for the launch and distribution of this record (press relations, publicity, sending records to critics, etc.).

A huge THANK YOU to all those who have been following and supporting us for so many years, and to those who will participate and help realize this beautiful project!

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